The equation for the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team is simple entering its final pool-play match: win and it moves into the second round of the World Championship.
One day after losing to the defending champions Brazil to drop into a tie for second place in Pool A, No. 9 United States will play first-place No. 13 Japan on Wednesday afternoon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The top two teams in each of the four World Championship pool at the end the three pool-play matches will advance to the second round.
The United States and Brazil are one-match behind Japan in the Pool A standings. A United State win against Japan coupled with a Brazil victory against last-place Bulgaria could create a three-way tie for pool’s two spots in the second round.
The first tie-breaker for teams tied are points per victory. A team at the World Championship receives three points for a sweep, two points for a four-game victory and one point for a five-game victory.
The United States leads all Pool A teams with three points, while Brazil and Japan each have two points.
Check out what to know about this Pool A match between the United States and Japan.
No. 9 United States (1-1, 1-1 Pool A) vs. No. 13 Japan (2-0, 2-0 Pool A)
Match vitals: 4 p.m. (3 p.m. EST) in Rio de Janeiro
Follow live: Live stats, Online video
Last medal finish at World Championship: United States (never); Japan (1989 silver)
Current NCAA players on roster: United States (15); Japan (zero)
What to know: The United States and Japan will play in a defacto elimination match with a chance to advance to the second round of the World Championship on the line. Japan enters this match in sole possession of first place after defeating Brazil and Bulgaria in five games, while the United States swept Bulgaria in its opener Monday and lost in four games to Brazil on Tuesday. The United States is tied with Brazil for second place and can qualify for the second round if it defeats Japan or if Brazil loses to Bulgaria in four or five games. Despite entering today’s match in first place, Japan would lose a potential three-way tie-breaker if the United States, Brazil and Japan each finish 2-1. As a result, Japan can only advance to the second round if it defeats the United States or if Brazil loses to Bulgaria. Japan outside attacker Takashi Dekita enters today’s match leading the tournament with 68 kills, including a match-high 45 kills in its victory against Bulgaria. BYU outside attacker Taylor Sander and Pepperdine outside attacker Maurice Torres each lead the United States with 28 kills through two matches. In addition, Torres is third at the tournament with a .560 attack percentage, while Sander is in the top 15 with a .475 attack percentage. This is the first time in more than 10 years that the United States and Japan have played each other in a World Championship match.